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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

One Florida delegate's journey from doubts about Trump to acceptance

Florida delegate Jessica Fernandez

Alex Leary | Times

Florida delegate Jessica Fernandez



It took several weeks to accept the whole idea, but there was Jessica Fernandez rising from her prime seat on the floor of the Republican National Convention as Donald Trump emerged Monday night, WWE-style with We Are the Champions blaring, to introduce his wife.

At her first convention, Fernandez was applauding a man she did not support in the primaries and still has reservations about — a feeling shared by many here as Trump has become the GOP's standard-bearer.

But "we were sent here to do a job," the Florida delegate said.

It's normal for people to show up at conventions wishing their candidate had won, but for the sake of winning in November, delegates rally around the nominee. Trump is different, as the absence of many top Republicans here shows and as a last-ditch revolt from some delegates hammered home Monday.

"I became a delegate to see what would happen, honestly," Fernandez said. "I'm 31 years old. I want to be part of the chaos, too. But thinking about it, talking to people, really understanding what this is about, I feel a sense of duty.

"There is a legitimate reason for me to be on the Never Trump side, but what is the point of being a delegate and revolting if you don't have a substitute candidate? That's my problem with this whole movement. If they wanted an alternative, it should have been organized. Trump won fair and square. Maybe this is an impetus for people to get involved in the primary process at the grass roots level. If you want your candidate to win, go knock on doors."

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2016 9:45am]


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